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August 15, 2003 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-15

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Washington Watch

All Talk

Bush administration continues to block action against Syria, despite Hezbollah attacks.

terrorism and its weapons of mass
destruction program and end its occu-
pation of Lebanon.
The measure, authored by Rep.
he Bush administration has
Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., now has 252
once again issued stern -
cosponsors in the House and 69 in the
warnings to Syria after a
week of skirmishes between
But Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chair
Israeli forces and Syrian-backed
of the International Relations
Hezbollah terrorists. But some Jewish
Committee, may still use his
activists worry that it's all
committee clout to bottle up
noise, no action.
the legislation. The reason:
"We heard this many
administration pressure. The
times before," said a top
White House claims that the
pro-Israel activist. "And
act would preempt the presi-
while we're glad the admin-
dent's ability to conduct for-
istration is more aware of
eign policy.
Syria's negative role in the
"The administration is
region, we aren't seeing
making angry noises about
much followup to the
Syria, but it's hollow," said a
warnings. In fact, the
congressional source. "As
administration seems to
long as they keep trying to
shrink from every option
thwart the majority in
for putting real pressure on
Congress who support the
the Syrians."
Syria bill, they'll be sending
That includes pending
the message that it's all blus-
sanctions legislation, which
ter, not substance. And
the White House continues Relatives of Haviv Dadon, 16, who was killed by an anti-aircraft shell
Bashar Assad will continue
fired by Hezbollah into the town of Shlomi on Israel's northern border,
to oppose.
to get a pass when it comes
grieve at his grave Aug. 10.
This week, reacting to a
to supporting terror groups.
series of Hezbollah attacks
in the north of Israel, a
just issuing warnings," said Jess
State Department spokesman con-
Phalcon Sale OK'd
Hordes, Washington director for the
demned the "calculated and provoca-
several years of friction, the Bush
tive escalations by Hezbollah since last Anti-Defamation League. "Warnings
has announced it has
that go unheeded just deepen the
week." Spokesman Philip Reeker also
go-ahead to sell an
said that "it remains in the interest of
advanced airborne warning and con-
both Syria and Lebanon to maintain
trol system to India. Approval of the
sanctions and serious efforts to isolate
that calm along the Israel-Lebanon
big-ticket Phalcon deal represents a
Syria diplomatically. But so far, the
border, and we continue to reiterate
boost to the Israeli defense industry,
administration has done neither.
our calls for all sides to abide by their
and a welcome acknowledgement of
Israel, too, is hoping for more seri-
assurances to the United Nations and
Israel's role as a partner in the admin-
ous U.S. action that would avert a
ensure that there are no further viola-
istration's anti-terror war, said
tions of the U.N.-demarcated with-
Shoshana Bryen, special projects direc-
drawal line."
tor for the Jewish Institute for
Reeker said Israeli officials had been
Security Affairs (JINSA).
will figure out a way to effectively
asked to "exercise maximum restraint
is important for the
pressure the Syrians so Israel doesn't
in order to avoid further escalation."
but the chief
have to consider the military options,"
The Israel government complained
importance is what it says about what
to United Nations Secretary General
danger of the Americans issuing a con- we're willing to do for countries that
Kofi Annan about the Hezbollah
are fighting the same war against ter-
attacks, promising to "take all steps" to stant stream of warnings that have no
ror we are fighting," she said. That
protect its citizens. Israeli officials were
includes both Israel and India, she
But the administration continues to
also in contact with Washington, urg-
hold back. Congressional sources say
ing a tougher U.S. approach to the
The sale has a long and troubled
the State Department is still working
Damascus regime. But that may be a
In 2000, the Clinton adminis-
to block the Syria Accountability and
tough sell.
tration nixed Israel's deal to sell the
Washington insiders say that while
would impose stiff economic sanctions radar planes to China, on the grounds
Bush administration has come to the
that the new technology could endan-
if Syria does not end its support for
conclusion that Bashar Assad, who

Washington Correspondent



replaced his father after the longtime
ruler's death in 2000, is not turning
out to be the moderating influence
many had hoped, there is a strong
institutional reluctance to back up
tough-sounding warnings to the
Syrian regime with tough action.
"The administration will have to fig-
ure out something more effective than

ger U.S. forces protecting Taiwan.
Israel then turned to India, but the
Bush administration was worried
about disrupting the military balance
between India and Pakistan, mortal
enemies that both claim Washington
as an ally.
But "recent developments in the
South Asia region have eased some of
those concerns and so that's why we've
informed the two governments that
we have no objections to that trans-
fer," said State Department spokesman
Philip Reeker this week.
Approval of the $1 billion deal also
comes at a time when Indian and pro-
Israel forces in this country are explor-
ing common interests as Washington
continues its war against terrorism —
much of it emanating from the Islamic
Another administration action last
week received scant press attention.
Without fanfare, President George W.
Bush once again renewed a legal waiv-
er allowing the Palestine Liberation
Organization to keep its office in
Washington. The president is required
to reauthorize the PLO office every
180 days; once again he did so stating
that a waiver is "in the interests of
national security."

Another Ike?

The race to win the
2004 Democratic presi-
dential nomination,
which has turned into a
Jewish genealogy extrav-
aganza, may be about to
get another candidate
who claims tenuous
Jewish family ties.
There are reports that
retired General Wesley Clark, who
revealed last year that his father was
Jewish even though the about-to-be
candidate was raised a Southern
Baptist, is getting near a presidential
In March, Clark, a former NATO
supreme commander, told the
Washington Post that Jewish ancestry
"is the big thing this season." If he
runs, Clark will join Sen. Joe
Lieberman, D-Conn., the only
Orthodox Jew in the Senate, former
Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, whose

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